|Answers to Home Buyers' questions are
Q. How Should a Seller Set a
List Price for a Home?
Not too long ago sellers were
able to sell their houses for ever higher prices -- virtually
ignoring comparable sales. Those days are past.
Today, armed with information available on the MLS (Multiple
Listing Service) and other databases, buyers and their agents
are fully aware of what comparable homes have sold for recently.
Buyers also know that most homes are taking longer to sell and
therefore they can be selective and patient.
Some sellers, however, believe in the
old myth of setting a list price significantly above current
market value. They usually say that they can drop the
price if it does not sell.
Quite frankly, that can backfire.
Here is why.
1. Buyers usually start their searches
with an upper dollar limit in mind. If a property is
listed significantly above that limit for the size and location
of the home, it will probably not even appear in an agent's or
buyer's search of the MLS. That means the over-priced home
gets far fewer showings -- if any at all. And if it does
not get shown, it will not get sold.
2. What usually happen next is
that the owners finally decide to lower the price -- a bit.
Then lower it again until it comes in line with current market
values. Only then will the property get the attention and
showings it deserves. Meanwhile, buyers who might have
purchased it earlier have bought other homes. In the end,
a too-high price may very well delay the sale of the property.
Q. When Should a List
Price be Adjusted?
A. The MLS these days is filled with
more than a year's supply of homes and condos for sale.
And sellers may grow concerned about why their homes is not
being shown or receiving offers. It may be the price -- or
may not. You should ask your real estate agent to get
feedback from other agents who have shown the property.
Specifically, your agent should find out what their clients
thought of the property and the price. The other agents
are always happy to share this information.
Q. What Should a Seller
Disclose About the Home?
A. Everything. The law
requires full disclosure. A seller should never try to
hide a current or recent problem with the property.
Sooner or later the buyer will find out and may --
unfortunately -- come back to the seller, armed with an
for what costs when a home is sold?
Q. What is "Staging
a Home" for Sale?
A. There are some customary
allocations of costs involved with a home sale in
California. For a detailed list of what buyers and sellers
A. Think of "staging" as preparing your
home to star at a big event. As the star, your home should
be dressed in a tuxedo (or ball gown), rather than appearing too
casual, as if wearing sweats and a t-shirt.
As an agent with years and years of
experience, I can tell you there are 2 important reasons for
1. Buyers automatically "discount" the
price if a home is messy, cluttered or, worse yet, dirty.
The unspoken assumption is that owners who are careless with the
appearance of the home were probably careless about upkeep of
the home and its systems. They assume that there may be
problems in the future and either make no offer on the property
or make a lower price offer.
2. Agents will often put a messy,
cluttered home last on the list to show their buyers -- and the
buyers may very well buy another home before they get to that
for a full page of details about how to put that
"Star-in-a-Tuxedo" look into your home.